The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life

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9780142004890: The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life
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Delve into the stories from Amy Tan's life that inspired bestselling novels like The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement and the new memoir, Where the Past Begins

Amy Tan has touched millions of readers with haunting and sympathetic novels of cultural complexity and profound empathy. With the same spirit and humor that characterize her acclaimed novels, she now shares her insight into her own life and how she escaped the curses of her past to make a future of her own. She takes us on a journey from her childhood of tragedy and comedy to the present day and her arrival as one of the world's best-loved novelists. Whether recalling arguments with her mother in suburban California or introducing us to the ghosts that inhabit her computer, The Opposite of Fate offers vivid portraits of choices, attitudes, charms, and luck in action--a refreshing antidote to the world-weariness and uncertainties we all face today.

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Review:

Amy Tan begins The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings, a collection of essays that spans her literary career, on a humorous note; she is troubled that her life and novels have become the subject of a "Cliff’s Notes" abridgement. Reading the little yellow booklet, she discovers that her work is seen as complex and rich with symbolism. However, Tan assures her readers that she has no lofty, literary intentions in writing her novels--she writes for herself, and insists that the recurring patterns and themes that critics find in them are entirely their own making. This self-deprecating stance, coupled with Tan’s own clarification of her intentions, makes The Opposite of Fate feel like an extended, private conversation with the author.

Tan manages to find grace and frequent comedy in her sometimes painful life, and she takes great pleasure in being a celebrity. "Midlife Confidential" brings readers on tour with Tan and the rest of the leather-clad writers’ rock band, the Rock-Bottom Remainders. And "Angst and the Second Book" is a brutally honest, frequently hysterical reflection on Tan’s self-conscious attempts to follow the success of The Joy Luck Club.

In a collection so diverse and spanning such a long period of time, inevitably some of the pieces feel dated or repetitious. Yet, Tan comes off as a remarkably humble and sane woman, and the book works well both to fill in her biography and to clarify the boundaries between her life and her fiction. In her final, title essay, Tan juxtaposes her personal struggles against a persistent disease with the nation’s struggles against terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11. She declares her transformative, artistic power over tragedy, reflecting: "As a storyteller, I know that if I don’t like the ending, I can write a better one." --Patrick O’Kelley

About the Author:

Amy Tan is the author of The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter's Daughter, The Opposite of Fate, Saving Fish from Drowning, and two children’s books, The Moon Lady and The Chinese Siamese Cat, which has been adapted as Sagwa, a PBS series for children. Tan was also the co-producer and co-screenwriter of the film version of The Joy Luck Club, and her essays and stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Her work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. Tan, who has a master’s degree in linguistics from San Jose University, has worked as a language specialist to programs serving children with developmental disabilities. She lives with her husband in San Francisco and New York.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780007170401: The Opposite of Fate

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ISBN 10:  0007170408 ISBN 13:  9780007170401
Publisher: Harper Perennial, 2004
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9780399150746: The Opposite of Fate

Putnam..., 2003
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9781594130335: The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings

Large ..., 2004
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9780786256938: The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings

Thornd..., 2003
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9780007169696: The Opposite of Fate

Flamingo, 2003
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